The story of Ms.Nguyen Thi Ut

Ms. Nguyen Thi Ut, 34, is a native of Hung Yen province, her husband works as a driver, they have two daughters, 12 and over 5 years olds. She is a sefl help group leader in Chuong Duong ward.

Due to a backward concept that girls should not learn much, she dropped out of school when she finished secondary education to become a tailor, but her income was too low so she followed some people in her home town to Hanoi since 1999 to make a better living. In those very first days in Hanoi, she sold fruits at Long Bien market. 1 year later, she opened a stall in the market. However, after witnessing many complicated and dangerous things here such as fighting, scrambling for commodities, causing injury, even fatality, she decided to quit that job. She got married in 2003, her husband encouraged her to learn a vocation instead of selling things at the market. She learned nail art in 2003 and since then she has been stick to this job on the street. In 2014, at the invitation of the Women’s Union of Chuong Duong ward and thanks to the persuasion of her landlord, Ms. Ut joined the peer group of the project. At first, she was not certain and only superficially joined the group. Then she gradually got fascinated by the activities of the project. She realized the benefits of the activities which help her and the fellow sisters be relaxed, entertained, shared difficulties, and accumulate a lot of useful knowledge. She understands that she can not only gain a lot of knowledge and skills but also have the opportunity to share with other people, which she finds to be of huge social significance. As for her self-help group, when it was newly founded, many sisters were not comfortable at all because they got too tired after a hard working day and just wanted to go to bed right after finishing dinner to recover strength for the next day. There were members who though attended the meeting but urged to hurry up or complained that a meeting in 1-2 hours was too long and too tiring. Facing complaints from the members, Ms. Ut was somehow discouraged. But every time she came to the peer group meeting and saw the eagerness and enthusiasm of other groups, she determined to change the minds of neighboring sisters. She tried to persuade them by telling about the change in her thinking. She used to be superficial when she first joined the group. But after participating in the project of Light, she realized that besides caring for children and family, woman also needed to take care of themselves. They should take some time to go to the self-help group meetings, gaining more knowledge, more understanding of life, while also having relaxing time with neighboring sisters, strengthening the bond and unity in the community, rather than busily working for a few more hours which would not help them to get richer but even harmful to their health. After being so convinced, the neighboring sisters have somewhat understood more and over time, many interesting topics have attracted their attention such as: popular risks faced by migrant workers, reproductive health, domestic violence, health insurance, Regulations regarding street vending in city ..etc. Every member enthusiastically told the story of her family or the story that she knew and together they discussed relevant topics under the instruction of Ms. Ut as well as other peers in the group. As for herself, Ms. Ut admits that she has changed from an extremely shy, timid person who never gave opinions to the crowd, though she understood the matters so well, to a confident woman who can now boldly raise her voice. In her refreshed mindset, she finds that she needs to be stronger and she has the rights